“These appear to be growing pains that many of the Navy’s first-of-class ships experience,” James says. “The ship is still on track and we’re still excited about Freedom working with allies and partners in Southeast Asia in the months ahead.”
Freedom documents and other Navy sources show continuing reliability issues with diesel engine operations dating back about three years, leading some sources familiar with ship operations to wonder if the Navy should consider replacing the engines with another model.
Indeed, the Freedom and its successor ship — the LCS-3 Fort Worth have had to swap diesel engines more than once in recent years because those engines “burned out” and were overhauled, according to sources familiar with the program.
Hunt says the diesel engine history appears to warrant a review, but he adds there is not enough data to say whether a new model is needed. The problems may be rooted in something other than the engines, he says.